New exhibit opens on history of Jews and cannabis – New York Post

Posted By on April 25, 2022

A Big Apple research institute has launched a joint effort tracing the roots of marijuana back to the Bible.

The upcoming exhibition at theYIVO Institute for Jewish Research near Union Square examines the historic relationship between The Chosen People and cannabis.

Highlights of the display will include objects repurposed for cannabis consumption, such as a menorah-shaped bong, and the Tokin Jew seder plate.

It was the bong that first sparked the interest of Eddy Portnoy, the exhibits curator. He asked the pipes maker, Grav, to donate one to the institute as an artifact of Jewish culture.

I thought to myself theres probably more out there like this, Portnoy said. I began to do research and not only did I find a lot more artifacts but I discovered this whole history of Jews and cannabis that had really been unknown to me and probably a lot of other people.

That history goes back to the Old Testament in a passage in the book of Exodus about an altar for burning incense with herbs including kaneh bosem, which is thought to be cannabis, he said.

The exhibit will even feature a kind of purchase order for pot, dating to the 1200s. The document, which was found in a Cairo synagogue in the 1800s, shows the letter writer asking for textiles and hashish in exchange for silver, Portnoy said.

That document, and others from the cache, will be reproduced for the exhibit, including a poem poking fun at people who smoke hashish saying, They eat everything in sight.

Its this weird sort of early 15th-century reference to the munchies, Portnoy said.

The exhibit also talks about notable Jewish figures in the cannabis canon, including Israeli scientist Raphael Mechoulam, who was the first to isolate THC the compound that provides marijuanas high and CBD which is believed to have medicinal properties and Jack Herer, the so-called Emperor of Hemp, who fought to legalize weed.

YIVOs exhibit opens on May 5 and kicks off with a panel discussion moderated by Portnoy. The exhibition is called Am Yisrael High, a play on the slogan Am Yisrael Chai, which means, The people of Israel live.

The exhibit takes the subject seriously and a lot of research was done, but because its cannabis there was the possibility to have a little bit of fun with it, Portnoy said.

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New exhibit opens on history of Jews and cannabis - New York Post

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